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Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Aug;21(8):464-71. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

Increasing awareness of avian ecological function.

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Stanford University Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA.


Birds are one of the most diverse groups of ecosystem service providers, whose ecological functions range from creating soil to shaping primate behavior, Nevertheless, the impression that birds have little influence on ecological processes has been hard to change. Given the ongoing declines in avian functional groups, there is a pressing need to compare avian ecological functions to those of other taxa, to understand how these functions translate to ecosystem services and to estimate the ecological implications of bird declines. Here, I review the ecological functions of birds, link them to ecosystem services and outline research priorities for understanding avian contributions to ecosystem functioning.

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